ATHENS — The qualifier remains that “Georgia is going to be Georgia,” but it’s starting to sound like the Bulldogs are going to throw the football more in 2019.
The Georgia players are all excited about James Coley taking over the offense from Jim Chaney. The consensus is that more of the playbook will be used, and more balls will fly through the air.
The Bulldogs had the heaviest run ratio of any non-option team in 2017, and last season Georgia lead the SEC in rushing.
But Coley could be a game-changer calling plays.
“His first instinct would be to throw,” Bulldogs senior tight end Charlie Woerner said Thursday. “Just knowing him, every G-Day game (Coley) is the offensive coordinator on one team, and Chaney is on the other, and you look at the stats and it’s a lot more pass-heavy on Coach Coley’s team than Chaney’s.
“Chaney is just a little more old-school running the ball, which I didn’t mind that either, but (Coley) likes to throw more than Chaney.”
Junior receiver J.J. Holloman agreed following Thursday’s practice.
“I’m confident that he will throw the ball a lot more, and we’ll have more explosive plays to look forward to,” said Holloman, UGA’s leading returning receiver.
Junior tailback D’Andre Swift is a returning 1,000-yard rusher and the Georgia offensive line is a powerful group capable or road-grading most any opponent.
But Swift is also adept at catching the football out of the backfield, and that offensive line is talented in pass protection.
Perhaps most importantly, Jake Fromm is a third-year starting quarterback, and Holloman said that factors in as much as Coley.
“It’s a mix of both, (Fromm) having all the experience he has,’ Holloman said, “and Coley opening the playbook and making a lot of things happen.”
Mecole Hardman is headed to the NFL, but the speedy junior receiver said he, too, expects more passing in the UGA offense.
“Probably a little more passing, I think Coley will bring a little bit more of that,” Hardman said after his pro day workout on Wednesday. “But they definitely are going to run the ball.
“You got Swift back, Zamir (White) coming back from injury, (James) Cook here, and they just signed another running back, so it’s going to be a similar offense. We’ll play our brand of football, but probably a little bit more finesse, a little bit more passing there was well. I’m excited for Coley, I know he’s gong to do big things.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday the updated definition of “balance” has less to do with run-pass ratio and more to do with the ability to do both effectively.
“People think balance means 50-50 — balance is not 50-50,” Smart said. “Balance is being able to run the ball when you have to run the ball and being able to throw the ball when you have to throw the ball.
“So can you do both? Yes, you can be successful at both. That might be 70-30 one game and then 30-70 the other way the next game.”
Georgia TE Charlie Woerner